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City of Cleveland, Mayor Bibb sue insulin manufacturers for damages for high drug prices, Cleveland the first city in the country to file such a lawsuit.... By clevelandurbannews.com, Ohio's Black digital news leader

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CLEVELAND, Ohio— Led By Mayor Justin  Bibb (pictured), the city of Cleveland this week filed a lawsuit in federal district court against a cadre of drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), accusing them of orchestrating a fixed pricing scheme that resulted in skyrocketing insulin prices and that has cost the city millions of dollars in prescription benefit payouts.

The city is represented in the case, which might prove tp be expensive, by the city law department, the Cleveland law firm of Kelley Ferraro, LLC, and other prominent attorneys .

The main accusation driving the unprecedented lawsuit, which names pharmaceutical giant Eli Lily Company as the leading defendant, is that the  nation's largest insulin makers and pharmacies are  driving up the cost of the lifesaving drug through unlawful, unfair, and deceptive business practices In the U.S. insulin is so expensive that many diabetics struggle to afford it even when covered by health plans, and are forced to ration their use — sometimes with deadly consequences.

A largely Black major American city where most of its residents live below the poverty line. Cleveland is the first city in the country to file a lawsuit of this nature that seeks to recover damages in benefit payouts monies against the defendants, Mayor Bibb and city media officials said in a press release on Tuesday to,Clevelandurbannews.com,Ohio's Black digital news leader. There are suits in general on the issue that have been filed in some other cities and states, including one filed in California by its state attorney general.

Bibb, 36, is the city's fourth Black mayor and he is a progressive Democrat who won the mayor's office in 2021 in spite of never holding public office before.

Cleveland assistant law directors Elena Boop and Amy Hough, who represent the city in the case, "are working with a team of talented lawyers to hold defendants accountable for skyrocketing insulin prices," the press release goes on to say.

Hough was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1979, the press release says. From age seven, she was warned about the dangers of not controlling her diabetes – blindness, heart disease, loss of limbs, dangerous pregnancy and a shorter life. She needs access to a steady supply of insulin so she can take the right dosage at the right time to keep diabetes in check. Insulin is not something she, or any other diabetic, can save up for to buy in the future. If she puts off the purchase, she risks her life. Prior to working for the city, Amy had resorted to using high-interest credit cards to buy this life-sustaining medication.

When Elena Boop's 15-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, it became clear that her small legal practice was no longer sustainable, due to the out-of-pocket cost of insulin medications. Insulin prices effectively destroyed Elena's small business. The last seven years have been shaped by constant worrying of how her daughter would be able to afford insulin once she turns 26 and is no longer on the city's health plan. Her daughter's career choices and future, including where she lives, have been shaped by insulin costs rather than her dreams and inspirations.

Diabetics need insulin to stay alive, research reveals.

The study  by the National Institute of Health found that the chance of developed diabetes was significantly higher for black adults than for white adults (about 66 more cases of diabetes per 1,000 people). The greatest difference was between  Black women and White women, though the study also highlighted racial disparities in general regarding the diabetic health of America's Black community.

"The defendants exploit this reality to guarantee their price-fixing scheme, making insulin too expensive to individuals and resulting in exorbitant costs for prescription benefit sponsors like the City of Cleveland," the lawsuit also reads.

Diabetic medications are among the highest costs under the city's prescription benefit plan provided to its employees. The lawsuit seeks to recover those costs. It alleges violations of federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Civil Conspiracy and Unjust Enrichment and seeks to recover compensatory and treble damages, punitive damages, attorneys' fees, costs and interest.

Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com, the most read Black digital newspaper and Black blog in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com. We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.


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